Barcelona, Spain

My 4 Day Itinerary and Experience

Barcelona Cathedral.jpg

Day 1: Arrival

We flew into Barcelona from Lisbon around noon and taxied to our Airbnb, which was in the Gothic Quarter. We were only a few blocks from the Ciutadella Park and the Arc de Triomf of Barcelona. We really enjoyed staying in this area because it was central and most things were walking distance.

Sunset street view from the Airbnb

Sunset street view from the Airbnb

Speaking of walking, we booked a walking tour with Sandemans New Barcelona Tours which included the Gothic and Born Quarters for the evening of our first day. This is a free tour and it helped us get oriented with where we are at and also learn about the history of Barcelona and Catalonia.

IMG_E5145.JPG
Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

After the tour we walked, but probably should’ve gave our feet a break, to view some of Guadi’s famous architectural designs; Casa Batlló & Casa Mila. We only admired the buildings from the outside and did not book tours of the inside, but I heard they are pretty nice. We had plenty tours still booked for our trip and decided this is something we will admire from the outside.

IMG_4815.jpg
Casa Mila

Casa Mila

We attempted to catch a bus back to the Gothic Quarter, purchased bus tickets for about 1.5 Euro, hopped on the bus, literally went one block, and the bus line ended. Our only choice was to continue walking or call a Taxi. We figured we were close enough and continued walking. Also the street the “Casas” are on is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants, so its really not a bad walk if your feet aren’t tired and/or if your shopping for souvenirs. Our goal was to find a gift for Kim’s nephew’s birthday.

Window shopping on our way

Window shopping on our way

…and admiring the architecture

…and admiring the architecture

We wrapped up the evening with a rooftop view of the Barcelona Cathedral from Hotel Colon. The hotel has a rooftop restaurant and indoor spa from which you can admire views of Barcelona and the Barcelona Cathedral.

Barcelona Cathedral 2.jpg

While hanging out on the rooftop I went inside to use the restroom and see if I can take a peek at the spa, meanwhile my friend meets two Ukrainian gals who moved to Barcelona and she is really excited about this. As I walked back out on to the terrace she literally shouted “UKRAINE” and pointed at me… it was hilarious because it came out so random, but she was just excited to announce that I’m also Ukrainian. One of the girls pulled this little brown baggie out with a scrumptious looking croissant and took a huge bite out of it, and from within oozed creamy goodness. We couldn’t help but ask what she was eating and where it came from. She told us it was from the best bakery in the city, Hofmann Patisserie, and it’s the marzipan cream filled croissant. The bakery had already closed at this time, but we made sure to go there the next morning.

Hofmann.jpg

Day 2: Booked Tours

We booked our tour of Sagrada Familia first thing in the morning. I read a few blogs recommending an early start before the crowds get too massive, especially if touring the towers because they get clogged up with people lingering from previous time slots. We booked through the website: sagradafamilia.org/en/home and chose to include the audio tour with the Nativity Tower. This was all well worth it. The Sagrada Familia has been one of my favorite churches/cathedrals to visit while traveling in Europe. My other favorite is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.

IMG_4905 (1).JPG
The pillars represent different types of trees and therefore made out of different stone, hence the variety in shades.

The pillars represent different types of trees and therefore made out of different stone, hence the variety in shades.

The “branches” of the trees lifting towards the sky, the lights are the “stars”. The symbols on the pillars represent each of the gospels; Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The “branches” of the trees lifting towards the sky, the lights are the “stars”. The symbols on the pillars represent each of the gospels; Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Every detail had some meaning and reference to the Bible. The outside of the building does seem overwhelming, even a little scary, but when looking at each detail and understanding the story its telling, it all makes sense. The audio tour really helped see past the Gothic exterior and understand the meaning behind the detail. The interior is what had us most impressed, especially because the exterior isn’t finished.

Our next booked activity was visiting Park Guell and the Monumental Core. The entrance to the park is free, but the Monumental Core has more structures using Gaudi’s architecture. Plan to spend a couple hours walking the park or even having a picnic outside of the Monumental Core.

Me in PG.jpg
ParkG.jpg

After leaving Park Guell we stopped at a local cafe for a late lunch and then taxied back to the Airbnb to relax a little before going out for more exploring and dining.

In the evening we took a walk in the neighborhood and to the Arc de Triomf- “In 1888 Barcelona organized the Universal Exposition. As a gateway to the fair, located in the Parc de la Ciutadella, the Arc de Triomf was built. A monument of classical shape and proportions but with sculptural and decorative finishes, torn and full of symbolism, which is one of the icons of the city.”

IMG_5086.JPG

Day 3: Beach Day

Barcelona+Beach.jpg

As you can see, Barcelona beaches are crowded and reminded me of South Beach Miami. Wasn’t too much of a fan, especially of the closest beaches to the city; which were Barcelonita Beach and Nova Icaria. We even experienced seeing a dead floating rat! So gross! We moved north to Bogatell Beach, which got crowded into the afternoon as well.

Unplanned but totally worth it was an evening cable car ride to Montjuic Castle. This was a suggestion given to us by the Ukrainian gals we met at Hotel Colon. We weren’t sure where the cable car started from or how to get there, so we walked into a random Farmatica (pharmacy) and asked. Although the lady working there wasn't positive on how to direct us, she still went out of her way to help us using the store’s computer and researching a few things for us. We ended up catching a taxi to the bottom of Montjuic cable car station. Might be just me, but it was a bit confusing figuring out how to get there, although the taxi driver knew exactly where we were trying to get to.

Here we are looking toasty after the beach :) The cable car is pretty high in the air and you get really nice views of the city…

IMG_5155.JPG
Montjuic Castle gate

Montjuic Castle gate

Day 4: Ciutadella Park

Kim flew home on the 4th day of our stay in Barcelona, so it was a loner day for me. After walking Kim to the taxi and saying goodbye, I went back to the Airbnb and got ready for the beach, which I walked to through the Ciutadella Park and took some time to admire the Cascada Fountain. I actually found this fountain more impressive than the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

IMG_5195.JPG
IMG_5204.JPG

After the beach I leisurely walked around and admired the old buildings and views of Barcelona.

IMG_5189.JPG
IMG_5193.JPG
IMG_5213.JPG
IMG_E5209.JPG

Stay tuned for a blog post about our favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Barcelona!

Oksana SpitsaComment